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St. Leonard Church at Deal, Kent, iImage Copyright Nick Smith licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.
St. Leonard's Church
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Deal and Walmer, Wrecks during the 1860s

Collaborator wanted for help with Finnis family logbook

The Goodwin Sands are a great sandbank, eight miles long and about four miles wide, rising out of deep water four miles off Deal. Between the Goodwins and Deal lies a stretch of deep water, in which there is great anchorage for shipping. This area is known as the Downs.

The 'sheltered' anchorage of the Downs is a relative term, even in this shelter the vessels are sometimes blown away from their anchorage, both by easterly and westerly winds and thus founder upon the Goodwin Sands or The Ship Swallower, as it is known.

This website contains extracts from the Deal & Walmer Telegram Newspaper c. 1850 onwards relating to Wrecks & Rescues of the Goodwin Sands. All events are factual, and are written as they appeared in print.

Welcome to the Wrecks and Rescues of the Goodwin Sands.


The Deal & Walmer Telegram Newspaper

Extracts therefrom
Vol. 4 No. 1

The information displayed here is from the former Deal and Walmer website by the generous permission of Linda Corbett.
  • Serious & fatal accident to the Deal Pilot Cutter

  • Ship on the Goodwins

  • Shipwreck in the Channel

24th May 1862.
The Princess (No.3) Pilot Cutter left the Downs for her station at 7.30 on Wednesday evening last with a crew of 8 persons, consisting of the master, mate, cook, steward and four seaman; also 14 Deal Pilots viz., Messrs. JOHN POTT, THOMAS BIRCH, JOHN ARNOLD, WILLIAM MACKIE,DANIEL GOLDSACK, JOSEPH HARTLEY, HENRY MILLEN, ROBERT FINNIS, GEORGE MOON, HENRY PETTY, JAMES GOSLEY, A, BURTON, JOHN PEMBROKE and FREDERICK WARNER.

Shortly after midnight, a strong wind with rain prevailed, and as they were in the act of reefing the sails, or had done so, they saw a ship

approaching them. The cutter burnt the usual flare-ups, and the mast-head light was also clearly visible. The ship, however, failed to notice these signals, when the order was given to shift the cutter's helm and get her before the wind; but before this order could be carried out into execution, it became evident to those on deck that the ship must strike them. The master then gave the alarm to the pilots below, who had all turned in, and implored them to prepare for the catastrophe which afterwards befell them; but before anyone could reach the deck, the ship struck the cutter violently on the port bow, hooking some part of her on the fluke of the ship's bower anchor, which dragged the cutter through the water with velocity, carrying away masts, bow-sprit, in fact everything above deck. At the moment of the collision tremendous efforts were made by the pilots to spring on board the ship. Many succeeded in gaining the deck of the ship. Mr JOHN PEMBROKE had succeeded in laying hold of some part of the ship, but before he could haul himself up a heavy sea struck the cutter and jammed him between that and the side of the ship, by which he was, no doubt, instantly killed.

Mr. PEMBROKE was much esteemed in the town generally, where he had been known since his birth, his father having formerly held the position of Storekeeper at Her Majesty's Naval Yard at Deal. We are informed that the mate is also lost, and we believe belonging to Dover.

The ship proved to be the 'Stirlingshire', from Trinidad, West Indies, she was afterwards took charge of by one of the pilots, Mr.JOHN POTTS.

15th February 1868.
The barque 'Renata', of Hull, on her way from Shields to Callao, with a cargo of coals, went ashore near the South Sand Head on the night of the 10th February. She exhibited signals of distress which were seen along the coast - a number of boats put off to render assistance - the lifeboat and harbour-tug of Ramsgate, together with several galleys from Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown. It is the custom for vessels in distress to engage the first boat that reaches them, hence there is usually a race for the job, and which is attended with more or less danger. The ship was eventually got off and brought into the Downs, where she was supplied with an anchor and chain from Walmer.

14th March 1868.
The 'Devonshire' (capt. ANDERSON), of North Shields, laden with grain, was lost with all hands, on the rocks 9 miles north of Boulogne at 10pm, Saturday. The vessel has gone to pieces.

1850S             1870S             Lost in the Downs             Stormy Weather